SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The governor of California declared a state of emergency on Monday to speed up efforts to fight the monkeypox outbreak, becoming the second state in three days to take the plunge.
Governor Gavin Newsom said the statement will help California coordinate a government-wide response, research more vaccines, and lead outreach and education efforts about where people can get treatment and a vaccination.
“We will continue to work with the federal government to get more vaccines, raise awareness about harm reduction, and support the LGBTQ community in the fight against stigma,” Newsom said in a statement announcing his statement.
Nearly 800 cases of monkeypox have been reported in California, according to state public health officials.
The monkeypox virus is spread through prolonged and close skin-to-skin contact, which can include hugs, hugs, and kisses, as well as sharing bedding, towels, and clothing. So far, those who have fallen ill have been mostly men who have sex with men, although health officials note that the virus can infect anyone.
“Public health officials are clear: Stigma is unacceptable and counterproductive in the public health response,” Michelle Gibbons, executive director of the County Health Executives Association of California, said in a statement. “The fact is, monkeypox is transmitted primarily through skin-to-skin contact and sharing objects like bedding or towels, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The type of monkeypox virus identified in this outbreak is rarely fatal and people usually recover within weeks. But the lesions and blisters caused by the virus are painful and can prevent swallowing or passing stools if they are in the throat or anus.
The statement in California came after a similar statement in the state of New York on Saturday, and in San Francisco on Thursday. Newsom’s administration had said as recently as Friday that it was too early for such a statement.
After lobbying for Newsom to make such a statement, Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco praised the governor’s decision.
“The monkeypox outbreak is an emergency and we need to use all the tools at our disposal to control it,” Wiener said.
Newsom’s Proclamation allows emergency medical personnel to administer monkeypox vaccines that are federally approved.
It sounds like a recent law that allows pharmacists to administer vaccines, Newsom’s administration said. He said the state’s response builds on steps developed during the coronavirus pandemic to set up vaccination clinics and ensure there is outreach to vulnerable populations in cooperation with local organizations. and community.
California has received over 61,000 doses of vaccine and has distributed over 25,000 doses.
“We have no time to waste,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a statement. She said the most populous county in the country must use all available resources to speed up the distribution of vaccines and help those who have been infected.
Newsom’s office said Los Angeles County received a separate vaccine allocation.
As of last week, the state had expanded its testing capacity to process more than 1,000 tests per week. Critics said the long wait for test results was delaying treatment options.
In San Francisco, Peter Tran was among hundreds who sometimes stood in line for hours to receive the monkeypox vaccine at Zuckerberg General Hospital in San Francisco on Monday after the clinic was forced to close last week because that she had not received enough doses.
“It’s horrible. Like it’s a vaccine that’s been out for so long. And like, it’s not even a killer disease. It’s harder to transmit than COVID. But the rollout of vaccines all over this country is absolutely awful,” Tran said.
“I think the science shows that the protection is greatly improved with the vaccine. That’s why I do it. And honestly, I don’t want any lesions on my body. I heard that the lesions are painful and leave scars. So I think that’s another motivation to go out and get it.
Before issuing its own emergency declaration last week, San Francisco city officials were criticized for not responding quickly enough to the outbreak. In turn, they blamed the federal government for not delivering enough vaccines. The city received about 4,000 doses on Friday, allowing it to restart vaccinations, and hopes to administer them by the middle of the week, said Dr. Lukejohn Day, chief medical officer at Zuckerberg General Hospital in San Francisco.
The city had 305 cases as of Monday, he said.
The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak of monkeypox in more than 70 countries a global emergency.
Associated Press videographer Terry Chea contributed from San Francisco.